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Bridgestone to partner with the World Agroforestry Centre to assist rubber tree farmers in Indonesia


Bridgestone Corporation today announced that it has entered into an agreement with the World Agroforestry Centre in which the parties will provide small-scale farmers in Indonesia information and guidance on best practices in connection with the cultivation of rubber trees.
 
The parties will also conduct joint research intended to help stabilize the region's agricultural rubber industry into the future. The agreement, which was signed on April 29 at the Centre's regional headquarters for Southeast Asia in Bogor, approximately 50 km south of Jakarta, was accompanied by a donation of ¥2 million to the World Agroforestry Centre from Bridgestone. Bridgestone's subsidiary in Sumatra, P. T. Bridgestone Sumatra Rubber Estate, will work with Centre representatives in connection with these initiatives.

 

1. About the World Agroforestry Centre
The World Agroforestry Centre (incorporated as the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)) is one of 15 research institutions attached to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the Centre is an international institution which provides support to small-scale farmers through research into agroforestry in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. The World Agroforestry Centre conducts research aimed at boosting production efficiency for natural rubber that is gathered from “jungle rubber,” or rubber trees growing in jungle conditions, and promotes an appropriate mix of rubber cultivation with other trees and crops.
 
2. Background to the joint project-contributing to local communities
1)  Support for agricultural households in Indonesia
The Bridgestone Group owns two natural rubber estates in Indonesia, on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, occupying a total area of 24,000 hectares. On the other hand, much of Indonesia's domestic natural rubber is produced by small-scale farmers with holdings of less than two hectares. Through support for such agricultural households, the Bridgestone Group hopes to boost natural rubber yields and contribute to economic stability and the development of local communities.
2)  Quality improvements of “jungle rubber”
The Bridgestone Group is striving to improve the quality of “jungle rubber” through educational and training activities targeting small-scale farmers. The next stage in the project will be to provide support through scientific analysis of cultivation, diseases and other facets of rubber agroforestry into the future.
3)  Biodiversity
Based on the agroforestry approach advocated by the World Agroforestry Centre, which focuses on both economic stability for farmers and biodiversity, the Bridgestone Group will help contribute to environmental preservation in Indonesia by encouraging small-scale farmers to combine various other trees and crops with the cultivation of rubber trees.
 
 1) Sumatra
     A) Company name: P. T. Bridgestone Sumatra Rubber Estate
    B) Location: Serbalawan, North Sumatra (Sumatera Utara)
    C) Date of acquisition: August 2005
    D) Equity ownership: Bridgestone Corporation 95%
    E) Representative: Philip Hickling
    F) Products: Natural rubber
    G) Site area: Approximately 18,000 hectares
    H) Number of employees: Approximately 6,000 (as of April 30, 2010)
 2)  Kalimantan
    A) Company name: P. T. Bridgestone Kalimantan Plantation
    B) Location: Tanah Laut, South Kalimantan (Kalimantan Selatan)
    C) Date of establishment: November 1999
    D) Equity ownership: Bridgestone Corporation 99%
    E) Representative: Aswansyah Noerdin
    F) Products: Natural rubber
    G) Site area: Approximately 6,000 hectares
    H) Number of employees: Approximately 800 (as of April 30, 2010)